Is NASA tinkering with the color settings  JAN 18 2004

Is NASA tinkering with the color settings on the photos from Mars?.

There are 20 reader comments

Sean Tevis57 18 2004 2:57PM

Why is the NASA doing this? There might be several reasons. Maybe this anomaly on Mars has something to do with it:

The color-correcting sleuthing is brilliant, but does this bit about the golf ball anomoly make sense to anyone?

JC59 18 2004 2:59PM

Fascinating. Can't wait to see the first NASA-conspiracy blogs spring up...

Leif35 18 2004 6:35PM

The link died :(

DaveC42691319 18 2004 7:19PM

Whole site is busted. Sure would be interested in further reading on this.

pb46 18 2004 7:46PM

The golf ball thing didn't make sense to me at all. But just because some of the arguments are out-there doesn't mean the color-switching thing isn't worth investigating.

Stefan Jones00 18 2004 8:00PM

If you look at the unaltered photos with polarized lenses, you can see a discarded Zero-Point Energy module the Grays left behind when they landed in Gusev back in '71 to ditch Elvis Presley's worn-out second body.

dowingba17 18 2004 8:17PM

They altered the photos to look like a 404 page! (Sorry, I had to say it.)

Alaina06 18 2004 9:06PM

There is an identical page at this link:

http://xfacts.com/spirit2004/index.html

and similar pages:

http://mars.spherix.com/spie2003/SPIE_2003_Color_Paper.htm
http://www.enterprisemission.com/colors.htm

(sorry, I'm not sure how to make those links)

Michael Savoy22 18 2004 9:22PM

The site has been taken down but you can still read the entire bizarre article via Google's cache of the site posted at this Metafilter thread.
http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/30805

jkottke15 18 200410:15PM

I changed the 404 link to one of the links suggested by Alaina.

Firas10 18 200411:10PM

Does the author know that the rover doesn't even have a full colour camera? Nitwit.

donald tetto04 19 200412:04AM

Sean, my thoughts exactly. I thought the page was a fairly interesting analysis, and I myself was wondering why -- and then the golfball question completely out of nowhere, no explanation, not even some crack-conspiracy-theory.

As far as the rover combining the black and white plates to create the final color print: so what? The author is arguing that the colors have been edited, but the point of this is that the colors are not accurate. At risk of sounding like a crackpot myself, NASA obviously knew the correct color calibration from the "earth shots" so any discrepancies on the Mars shots should have been color corrected back to the normal -- I would imagine this would not be extremely difficult given given the rather bright blue, green, red, and orange swatches on the sundial panel.

dowingba06 19 2004 3:06AM

I was assuming the golfball picture at the end was a joke?

dan55 19 2004 2:55PM

why in the world would the rover not have a colour camera?

bob59 19 2004 4:59PM

man, i've been looking for that golfball.

Firas48 19 200410:48PM

Dan, the rover has wavelength filters, not a color CCD. The pictures are created using band math.

http://athena.cornell.edu/pdf/tb_pancam.pdf

It's not quite as simple as taking a picture on the beach or something.

rg01 21 2004 3:01AM

For those interested in such things, Vision and Art: the Biology of Seeing is a great read. (more)
Every CCD is an array of light-sensitive diodes (actually biased to the blue wavelengths), with RGB filters on top of each. Film is much the same, with layers of emulsion sensitive to particular wavelengths, different films 'tinker' with the wavelength reception (velvia=saturation,portra=eyelike). You generally use a Macbeth color checker to calibrate.
The sundial colors are almost neon because by definition neon is a very tight wavelength of color, allowing software to triangulate for calibration.

Kevin31 21 2004 3:31PM

According to this BBC article, "Colours in the [images from Spirit] have been adjusted but scientists have not yet determined the 'true' colour of the Martian rocks."

nobody07 21 2004 7:07PM

The normally blue starscape - or "meatball" - that forms the Nasa logo has turned a muddy red. And blue insulating foam surrounding cables on the lander has turned bright pink. - from Kevin's BBC article.

My link above explains exactly why this happens.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.

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